Jim Hall’s Chaparrals were a huge influence on myself and many other designers. Chaparrals were innovative, leading edge designs with mysterious connections to General Motors. Big-block starships.
I grew up in Riverside, California, and when the USRRC or CANAM came to town I was at the Riverside International Raceway taking home movies (you can watch a compilation of the movies I shot back in the day here). During the week leading up to race weekend, I’d drive through local motel parking lots to see if I could spot any race cars or trailers with Texas plates. Once I went over to DeAnza Chevrolet before they moved to the Auto Center and managed to watch (through the fence) the Chaparral team work on the cars in one of the garages. Pretty cool stuff for a car crazy teenager. In 1968 I traveled to Las Vegas with friends to watch the Stardust Grand Prix, and witnessed (through binoculars) Hall’s horrible crash with Lothar Motschenbacher’s McLaren M6B.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to visit the Chaparral Exhibit at the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas. It’s well worth a visit, hollowed ground for Chaparral enthusiasts.
Petroleum Museum Gallery
Photos by Gary D. Smith
Ed Welburn drives the Chaparral 2.
Several years ago Ed Welburn had the opportunity to drive a Chaparral around the Tech Center. Had I known that was a possibility, I’d have stayed at GM and competed for the top spot.